The raging coronavirus pandemic has left healthcare workers more vulnerable than ever.
At a time when every politician is glorifying them and homebound citizens cheer them on with claps and pictures of rainbows; doctors, nurses and other frontline public healthcare staff are finding themselves under terrible psychological strain.
Many medical staff are now working even longer hours than usual. It is humanly possible that some of them are experiencing symptoms of burn-out—characterized by emotional exhaustion, withdrawal and cynicism.
Some, afraid of infecting their loved ones, have isolated themselves from their families for long periods of time.
All this combined could result to a psychological toll – which may ultimately lead to a state of mind that does not make good use of health workers’ best qualities; which include selflessness and resilience.
Struggling medics can find help hard to come by, but concerned organizations conscious of the strain on medics, are trying to provide helplines and other support.
Equity Group Foundation (EGF) in partnership with the Kenya COVID-19 Fund and Kenya Medical Association (KMA) and other partners have for instance pledged to place up to 50,000 front-line public healthcare staff in a year-long psychosocial support programme.
Through this partnership that is expected to gobble up Ksh 85 million, the medics will also receive training on case management, and on the application and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE’s) to help them cope with the daily challenges as they battle the pandemic first-hand.
Dr James Mwangi, Equity Bank’s boss and the chairman of the Health Committee of the Kenya COVID-19 Fund Board says that the cohort aims to champion the mental wellness of healthcare workers as well as supporting them physically with the much-needed PPEs and how to apply and use the same.
Dr Mwangi said that the programme and the training sessions will be implemented in all the 47 counties countrywide.
He was speaking during the launch of the training programme at Kenyatta National hospital on 19th June 2020.